Do you know how many days "off" I get at the Report? Well do you!
I'll tell you. Zero. It's constant non, stop stress. Every day some Tom, Dick or Harriet reaches out and insists that I "tell them something they don't know".
Do I look like Walter Winchell to you? Forget it, dumbass you probably never heard of him. I can't take this anymore. I'm checking into Belleview for a long weekend. (Get it? Fricken comedic genius)
It’s the End of the Weekend as We Know It
The trade-off for flexible midweek schedules and hybrid offices is a seven-day workweek, many professionals say
By Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ
March 31, 2023 11:00 am ET
Once relished as the reward after five days of hard work, weekends are dwindling as employees move fluidly between work and personal time all of the time.
When the pandemic began, many professionals stuck at home opened their laptops on Saturday mornings. They just never stopped: Saturdays and Sundays are starting to resemble Monday through Friday, with hours of emailing and stretches of catch-up time. Some find the spillover of work into the weekend to be invasive, with kids’ soccer games to date nights to religious services to attend. But employees acknowledge that work-filled weekends are the trade-off for hybrid office time and flexible schedules that allow for midmorning gym workouts, afternoon school pickups, dog walks and grocery-store runs.
“It’s the cost of flexibility,” said Katerina Manoff, who is trying to wrest back more of her weekend time by programming emails to send on Monday mornings.
The founder of a Washington-based nonprofit that pairs Ukrainian youths with English speakers answered some backlogged messages on a recent Saturday, including one from an associate hoping to partner on a project. Five seconds later, a response pinged her inbox.
“He wrote back right away,” said the 35-year-old mother of two girls, ages 7 and 2. The email volley shifted the weekend vibe from a quick catch-up in pajama pants to something akin to a regular workday. “It pushed this item that I’d just crossed off my to-do list back on within minutes.”
A new study of 134,260 employees across more than 900 organizations by the workforce-analytics software firm ActivTrak found that people now work an average of 6.6 hours on the weekend, up 5% from 2021. One of the biggest leaps in weekend work came from computer hardware industry workers, whose weekend workload increased 31% to 11.5 hours, according to the study.
Microsoft Corp.’s Work Trend Index published last March found that weekend work was 14% higher than it was in 2020. Microsoft measures average time spent on its Teams app and can see that a significant amount of work is happening during a second shift at night and now on weekends, too.
“I think it means that we’re working differently, not necessarily that we’re working less,” said Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft’s Future of Work team.
Old notions of what work looks like—seated at a desk for eight or nine hours, or under fluorescent lights or in a conference room—are being challenged from all sides, she added. That afternoon jog, for instance, might produce a flurry of great ideas and renewed productivity.
Employees are still adjusting to working hybrid schedules as bosses call people back to offices. A hybrid-work mind-set requires switching between tasks that require focused attention and personal time that’s more dispersed. Those who choose to work across six or seven days instead of five would be wise to stay focused on the benefits of that trade-off: a summer walk on a Wednesday afternoon or after-school play time with the kids, said professionals who are working longer weeks.
Andrew Noyes, a San Francisco-based vice president at Eat Just Inc., said his view of weekend work has evolved during the pandemic. Mr. Noyes said he used to dread working on weekends. Now, it’s an empowered choice, as he works from home and juggles a workout or throwing a ball for his dog, Truman, between phone calls and Zoom meetings.
“‘I’m going to work in the time that works best for me,” he said.
Companies and workers walk a thin line in pursuit of the elusive work-life balance.
Managers are paying close attention to employee productivity in a jittery economy where bosses are demanding more as people feel stretched. Workers are more protective than ever of their personal lives. In a recent poll of more than 1,000 employees by the performance-management software company 15Five, 22% of employees and 21% of HR leaders said that if they could change one thing about today’s work environment, they wanted personal downtime respected.
Research also shows that the traditional weekend of two whole days off work has real value. Employees who take advantage of weekend detachment were more likely to feel happier and more energetic at the start of the following workweek, according to a recent study by Portland State University.
Maria Simon, with her three sons, works three to six hours on weekends.
PHOTO: SYDNEY STARK
The ubiquity of laptops and hand-held devices makes it tempting to fill in downtime with work whenever possible, said Maria Simon, a managing partner at a Fairfax, Va.-based law firm, who oversees a staff of more than 30 people.
“Before, I could always use the line, ‘when I get to the office,’” the 41-year- old mother of three boys, ages 2, 6 and 12, said. “There’s no line now.”
Ms. Simon typically works three to six hours on weekends, compared with one or two before the pandemic. Her home office is on the same floor as her kitchen, and her work number rings on her personal cellphone.
While she actively works to turn off the fire hose of messages for a few hours every weekend, Ms. Simon said those days are often the only time she can really catch up. When she fires off emails to staff over the weekend, she said she makes it clear that she doesn’t expect a response until Monday.
“Just because I’m working doesn’t mean you should,” she said.